Forget the illegals, track the cows!
by Henry Lamb, World Net
June 16, 2007
For more than 20 years, illegal aliens
have crossed the U.S. border by the millions and have
successfully avoided thousands of law enforcement officials
whose job it is to capture and remove them from the United
States. Government has utterly failed to locate, capture or
remove the illegals.
Despite this spectacular failure – the inability to find
20 million illegal aliens – this same government is
preparing to locate, monitor and control the movement of
hundreds of millions of livestock animals. Every cow – as
many as 100 million – must have a unique numbered
identification tag, most likely a Radio Frequency
Identification Device. More than 500 million chickens must
be identified with a similar tag. Every horse, every pig,
every goat, every sheep – every livestock animal in the
United States will be required to have a unique number
loaded into a national database, along with the coordinates
of the premises where the animal is housed. And should an
animal leave the premises for any reason, the owner would
have to report it to the government within 24 hours, or face
fines and jail penalties.
Why would the government undertake such a ridiculous
program, when it has already demonstrated that it has no
hope of keeping track of illegal aliens?
Illegal aliens bring in drugs, guns, disease and who
knows what else. Illegal aliens drive down wages. Illegal
aliens commit a disproportionate number of crimes, clog the
court system and fill the jails. Illegal aliens drain social
services at taxpayer expense, and the government is helpless
– or unwilling – to do anything about it.
But the government is all hot to trot about tagging all
the animals in the country because – they say – it may help
locate the source of a disease, should one break out.
The National Animal Identification System, or NAIS, is
not about an animal disease or potential disease. It's about
money. It's about big money for big meat
processors and the political campaigns they can fatten.
Thanks to the various committees and working groups of
the World Trade Organization, the international community
has decided global trade in meat products should be
traceable and require a "national system" to be in place
before products can be imported into certain countries.
The National Institute for Animal Agriculture, a
not-for-profit collection of the major trade associations
and meat processors, developed a plan, along with a willing
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
to impose the
NAIS on farmers and ranchers without their consent and
at their expense. In Idaho alone,
more than 15,000 ranchers were registered into the
program without their knowledge or permission.
Opposition exploded across the nation, and the USDA
rewrote its plan, saying henceforth the NAIS would be
"voluntary." Yeah, right. That's like saying the new
immigration bill will solve the illegal-alien problem.
While claiming the program is "voluntary," the USDA is
paying various state agencies and nonprofit groups to
register farmers and ranchers into the program, often using
coercive techniques. In Colorado, 4-H students are not
allowed to show their animals unless they are registered in
the NAIS. In Florida, retired bureaucrats working for the
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
(largely funded by the USDA), are tracking down private
landowners and counting livestock animals – with or without
the owner's permission.
Now, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., Chair of the House
Agriculture Committee, has decided he doesn't care what the
farmers and ranchers want. He has decided to slip the NAIS
into the Farm Bill by attaching it to a previously enacted
law, the Country of Origin Labeling Act.
Peterson is saying: If Americans want to know what
foreign country provides the meat in their hamburger, every
livestock animal in America is going to be tagged,
registered into a national database and all movements
reported the USDA.
This trade-off has nothing to do with health or safety;
it has everything to do with big bucks for the big
processors – and their congressional friends. Currently,
meat products from anywhere can be imported and incorporated
into hamburger, hot
dogs and other processed meats now sold as American
meat. With Country of Origin Labeling, these meat products
would have to disclose the origin of the meat contents –
like every other imported product. Have you ever seen the
"Made in China" disclosure on almost everything? Why not
have your hamburger package say: "30 percent of this product
made in Uganda," or some other country?
Because it would scare the "sale" out of a lot of people,
and the big processors know it. That's precisely why the
NIAA, the National Cattle and Beef Association, the American
Farm Bureau Federation and the major meat processors do not
want Country of Origin Labeling, but do want National Animal
Identification. This way, the big guys can keep on selling
whatever they import from whatever source – and call it U.S.
meat. And with NAIS, they can also export U.S. prime meat
into countries that now require an electronic trace-back
system – whether the system works or not.
The big guys, and their congressional enablers, make out
like gangbusters while the farmers and ranchers pay the
costs and do the work.